It’s interesting to see how often business conferences will have serious workshops and keynote addresses on the topic of business ethics. Left unsaid is where those seemingly universally adopted ethical principles were derived from.
Companies pretty much know that they have to obey the laws—there are legal and illegal behaviors, with penalties attached to the latter. The concept of “ethics,” however, implies that there are certain practices that are intrinsically right and wrong. There is an assumption that everybody knows what those things are and is in agreement. Ha! Not so. Is it unethical to leave out certain unpleasant information in negotiations so that you can close a deal? Is it evil to shade information you submit to the government in order to evade taxes, or is that just a fun game you play and you hope you don’t get caught? Does anybody in your company have a problem if you sabotage your competitors’ bids? Does the end justify the means?
There are no ethics without God. Without his word in Bible and conscience, there is only the law of the jungle, and all successful businesses would be red in tooth and claw. God’s wonderful words reveal to us how to treat one another, personally and in our commercial transactions: “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:15,16).
He’s watching us, you know. What’s in your ethics?